To many people, a ‘nostalgia’ article would involve delving into decades-old archives, to pull out details of games from the distant past. For Brighton & Hove Albion, we only have to go back nine years for a nostalgic look at a game against this weekend’s opponents.
On New Year’s Day 2008, we welcomed Bournemouth to Withdean for a League One fixture. At the time, the Cherries were very much a lower-league team and at the time of the fixture were in the relegation places, with 19 points from their 22 games. Albion were 11th, on 30 points, just four away from the play-off places.
Seagulls manager Dean Wilkins was hoping we would bounce back from a run that had seen us win just once in the league since the start of November. That win came at Swindon Town and was very pleasing for the boss. “It was clearly evident that confidence was still sky high. We played with real determination and excellent organisation throughout the game”.
He went on to talk about the Boxing Day defeat at Millwall where he felt “the players didn’t play as well as they can – but it is important to not get too carried away by the defeat”.
The usual gruelling schedule was helped slightly by a postponement just before Christmas, but the Bournemouth fixture was our fourth in a 15-day period. Wilkins made a number of changes to the team that had lost narrowly at Yeovil Town.
Michel Kuipers continued in goal but in the back four, Guy Butters and Tommy Elphick came in, alongside Andy Whing and Adam El-Abd. In midfield, Dean Cox, Paul Reid and Dean Hammond were behind Jake Robinson, with Alex Revell and Nicky Forster up front.
The game turned out to be a classic, and a personal triumph for one Albion player. Revell had been beset with injury problems for much of the season but was beginning to show a good understanding with Nicky Forster. The two combined after 15 minutes when Forster robbed Jason Pearce and set up Revell for a tap-in. Bournemouth equalised nine minutes later after a scramble in the Albion box and it stayed that way until half-time.
We went ahead in the 58th minute, with Forster again the provider. His clever knock-down created space for Revell to drive the ball home. Bournemouth again fought back and with just 11 minutes to go they equalised again. Brett Pitman followed up to score after Kuipers couldn’t hold on to a shot.
The game looked set for a draw until that man Revell popped up to claim his first hat-trick in professional football. This time it was Robinson who provided the assist, his pin-point corner finding Revell’s head and he thundered the ball into the net for a dramatic win.
Those were to be his final goals in an Albion shirt. At the end of January 2008, he moved to Southend United after we signed a young forward called Glenn Murray. Revell, now 35 years old, is still playing in the Football League and has made 22 appearances for Stevenage this season. Here’s hoping his replacement at the Albion can come up with a goal on Saturday!
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